Dead Man Down is the Hollywood debut of Danish filmmaker Niels Arden Oplev, director of the Swedish-language The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo adaptation and the upcoming TV pilot Under the Dome (based on Stephen King’s novel). It also reunites Oplev with Noomi Rapace – who played Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish Millennium trilogy – for a new dark crime-thriller about a woman seeking (bloody) vengeance against the man who brutalized her (Terrence Howard).
The new trailer is essentially identical to the unofficial preview that leaked last December, give or take some 20 seconds of previously-unseen footage. We get an introduction to Victor (Colin Farrell), the hit-man whom Beatrice (Rapace) both literally and emotionally-blackmails into helping kill his boss: the same crime-lord who scarred her. Rounding out the cast are people like Dominic Cooper (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) and Armand Assante (American Gangster), as criminals who get caught up in all this dirty business.
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a TV production refashioned for theatrical release, so it comes as little surprise that Oplev’s new film looks much more cinematic and stylized. The trailer glimpses several explosive set pieces, destructive shoot-outs and brawls, though it might be deceptive in layout; that is, the actual film might be more of a slow-burn affair, with the tension occasionally erupting into disarray and violence (before all bets are off, in the third act). We’ll see about that, though.
Farrell may not be an action star (at least, no one that sells many tickets), but this is the sort of comparatively low-key and character-oriented thriller that plays to his strengths. Similarly, Rapace and Howard rarely fail to impress – even in movies that don’t make effective use of them (see: Rapace in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) – and their performances in Dead Man Down strike the perfect note… so far.
Check out the Dead Man Down poster (via MTV):
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The only questionable element appears to be the screenplay from J.H. Wyman, the now-former co-showrunner on the sci-fi TV series Fringe and screenwriter on Gore Verbinski’s The Mexican. Story-wise, Dead Man Down doesn’t seem to posses the social relevance of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; it’s leaning more in the direction of traditional American neo-Noir territory. That’s not, per se, a bad thing, but fans of Oplev’s take on the Lisbeth Salander world might want to lower their expectations that his Hollywood debut will be equally affecting and engaging.
Look for Dead Man Down in U.S. theaters on March 8th, 2013.